Subtle and alluring saffron and cardamom enliven this long lasting and moist olive oil pound cake. This post is sponsored on behalf of Staples to drum up enthusiasm for National Coffee Day.
So this is a sponsored post, but it is not, for me anyway, a typical sponsored post. Not that I do many sponsored posts anyway, but the point being I was not compensated with money for this post. Rather, a representative from Staples contacted me, asking if I would be interested in drumming up enthusiasm for National Coffee Day (September 29) by participating in their CoffeeBuzz event. I would share a recipe for a dish to be paired with a cup of coffee, give away some Keurig machines on Twitter (see bottom of post), and Staples would provide the coffee–by sending me a Keurig coffee maker and some K-cups to go with it.
I love this blogging gig.
I also love this Keurig–truly. It is my first experience with a single cup brewing system, but we are all already enjoying it. I immediately purchased a re-useable Ekobrew Stainless Steel Cup (I am not sure if they are still made) because for me to love the Keurig in the long run I knew I needed to feel good about using it (from an environmental perspective) and I also needed to be able to choose my own coffee. Using my own coffee I made an outstanding latte, which is my drink of choice when I want coffee. But frankly even better is all of the other things I can do. Instant tea has been an amazing development, and my children are enjoying the instant hot chocolate (I prefer hot chocolate made with real milk, but that’s ok). I am also intrigued by using the hot water to make a fast oatmeal. I only had the machine for 2 days before we left to go out of town, and I missed it the entire time we were gone!
Consequently, the only bummer of course was that I was basically running out the door to head to Virginia for some medical appointments (follow up to my brain surgery from 2000–we need to check every so often that the epilepsy causing brain tumor has not come back–and yes it is all good), so I needed a transportable treat, something that would last a few days and be just as tasty as the first day I made it, thereby nixing all of the streusel topped coffee cakes I immediately envisioned. I figured I could take it as a thank you gift to our awesome friends in Charlottesville who let us stay with them every time I head back for an MRI. So that was my first requirement. My second requirement, completely self-imposed, was that its flavors be subtle. I don’t care for super strong flavored desserts with my coffee or tea. They run too much of a risk of somehow clashing with the drink. So I started thinking pound cake…
Enter the always reliable Alice Medrich. I have discussed her Chewy Gooey Crispy Crunchy Melt-in-Your-Mouth Cookies in some depth on this site (because, uh, it is only the best cookie book EVER!), but I had yet to use or review her Sinfully Easy Delicious Desserts. When I saw the Olive Oil Pound Cake with the saffron and cardamom variation, I knew I had found my winner. And it was truly fabulous! Perfect for this post, as a companion to a hot mug of coffee or tea, perfect for shipping or carting to a friend the next day, and perfect for dessert as well. The inside was moist and aromatic, and the crust was, for lack of a better word, crusty in the very best way. After a few days had passed, it stayed delightfully crusty, not giving over to the sogginess that can plague loaf cakes. One of the 4 year old daughters of our hosts in Charlottesville gave it what was obviously her best compliment: “It tastes like chocolate!” Which made me laugh, as it tastes nothing like chocolate, but clearly that was the most impressive thing she could think to say about a slice of frosting-less cake.
- 3 cups (378 g) AP flour
- 2 t baking powder
- ¾ t ground cardamom
- ¼ t fine sea salt
- 1 cup fruity extra virgin olive oil
- 2 cups sugar
- 1 t vanilla
- 5 cold large eggs
- 1 cup whole milk (I used 2 T cream plus remainder 1%)
- ¼ t saffron threads
- Crush the saffron threads into the milk. Using a fork or spoon, whisk them into the milk and set aside for at least 10 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 350 F.
- This recipe will fit a 9-10 inch bundt pan, 2 8 X 4 loaf pans or 1 8X4 loaf pan and 3 mini loaf pans. Whichever you choose, either line with parchment paper or grease and flour. Set aside.
- Whisk together the flour and baking powder. Set aside.
- Using an electric mixer, beat the cardamom, salt, oil and sugar until completely incorporated. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Once they are all incorporated, add the vanilla and beat on medium high speed until the mixture is thick and pale, about 3-5 minutes.
- With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture in 3 additions and the milk in 2 additions, alternating, and beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Do not overmix.
- Scrape the batter into the prepared pan(s). Bake for around 30 minutes for mini loaf pans and around an hour for the larger pans. The cake will be well risen, golden, pulling away from the sides of the pan, and when a cake tester is inserted it should come out clean or without only a few crumbs attached.
- Let the cake(s) cool in the pan(s) for 10-15 minutes, then turn out onto a cooling rack. For loaves, flip them around right-side-up. Cool completely before slicing.
Affiliate links were used in this post to link to items being discussed. This post was #sponsored by Staples, who gave me the Keurig coffee machine as well as some K-cups and other coffee accessories. My only obligation in this was to drum up some excitement for National Coffee Day
and also let you guys know that at 12 noon and 3 pm Monday I will be running some Keurig #giveaways on my twitter account! Be sure to follow along and reply or retweet to be entered for a chance to win (giveaway is over). All opinions in this post are my own.